8 TV Shows to love and find inspiration from

I get a lot of my inspiration from great TV shows, and I think people sometimes forget that TV Shows are only as good as the writers behind them. It has to have all the pieces in the formula to make it complete: great characters, an interesting and believable world and a great story.

I get inspired by these great stories and characters and love them sometimes just as much as my favorite books. So I thought I’d share some of my favorites of the past several years and why I think they deserve a good watch.

(It all depends on what you are into, too.) Me, I love science fiction/fantasy and alternate realities, but mostly I love great characters and these shows have all that and more:

8. Once Upon a Time Once-Upon-a-Time-Poster

From the brilliant creators of LOST, the first few seasons follow Emma and the other characters of Storybrooke, Maine in a world where fairy tale creatures don’t know who they truly are. The show presses you to believe in them as you follow these troubled characters and hope that they’ll be able to find true happiness. There’s true love between Snow White and Prince Charming, and despite the clichés, there happens to be something different and fresh about each character you see here, and you will see all sorts of fairy tale characters from multiple worlds.

7. Chuck1024x768chuck_sarah1

One of my favorites, but clearly not up to par as a show like Game of Thrones. Chuck is about “Chuck,” a man who works at a Buy More (think Best Buy) whose life changes when he has a super computer downloaded into his head. Mostly I love this show because of Chuck played by Zachary Levi. Others might know him as the voice of Flynn on Disney’s Tangled. He’s that awkward, yet handsome nerd that everyone has in their lives and knows and loves. He’s relate-able, there’s action, there’s chemistry, and instead of becoming repetitive, the show and the characters continue to grow throughout the seasons.

6. BonesBones_(1)Bones is about forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan, and how her partnership with the FBI helps them solve murders. I love the chemistry between Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI agent, Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). It is a relationship that definitely has more depth to it than just physical chemistry. You begin to understand that at the end of the day, these two are best friends, and can overcome any odds together. Plus, there’s a great cast and a humor that evens out the gruesome deaths and murders that the crew solves on each episode. Without the chemistry between all the characters, this show would have died a quick death a long time ago.

5. Downton Abbey

DowntonAbbey1A period drama that focuses on the lives of the people who live and work in a large house, “Downton Abbey” that functions in the early 1900s and into the 1920s. Each character faces trials and tribulations, and the characters downstairs, (the kitchen, maids, footmen, etc.) are just as important as the lords and ladies of the manor in all their finery. Maggie Smith delivers great one liners, and the costumes, colors and dialogue transports you to a world that is very different from the one we live in now. I have a hard time writing after watching this show, merely because the character’s accents and mannerisms get in my head and it is sometimes hard to switch it off! It is a great show if you need to escape for a while.

4. Breaking Bad

Breaking-Bad-Season-51It is fourth, merely because there are other TV shows that I love more, however, this one takes the cake when it comes to great writing. The show is about high school chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who is diagnosed with lung cancer. He decides to make and sell crystal meth to leave a legacy for his family.  I love the bro-mance between Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston’s characters, and each season amps up the suspense as you’re taken along with Walter White on his journey of self discovery. It challenges the idea of right and wrong and each episode feels like a movie – there’s a lot of cinematic moments, great landscapes; Vince Gilligan is a pro when it comes to the awkward conversation.

3. Game of Thrones

Game_of_thrones_castGeorge R.R. Martin’s books come to life on the screen, the phrase “Winter is coming,” should be heard throughout the realm – this show airs on HBO on Sunday nights, although now we have to wait a whole year for the new season! The show follows several characters, (more than several actually) as they make their way through the seven kingdoms; some with desires for the throne, some with dragons, some with destinations of their own. There’s gruesome deaths, sex, love, fights, dragons, and epic fantasy. If you love all that…then this show is for you. The show doesn’t skimp on the special effects either…it is HBO after-all. Not for the faint of heart, but that’s what makes it so great.

2. LOST

lost-headerAnd yes, I wrote it in great big capital letters, like it appeared on the show. (Writing it in lowercase just seems an insult to the show really.) LOST follows the lives of several survivors of a plane crash on an island somewhere in the south pacific. Unbeknownst to them, there is a greater purpose at work here as we learn how these characters lives are interconnected. There are so many themes in here for the starving English major: Death/Life, Science/Religion, Heaven/Hell, Right/Wrong, Retribution/Rebirth; it is a conspiracy theorist’s paradise and the skies the limit on what may or may not happen here. I fell in love with this show, and it is definitely worth it to see great actors, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, and of course Josh Holloway’s dimples.

1. Firefly

FireflyI don’t know if you have heard the story: Firefly, the almost was. It aired for 14 episodes, when producers cancelled the show, not realizing (apparently) that it was starting to grow a fan-base; a fan-base so large that they were able to make a movie to conclude the show! I don’t know if there is a producer somewhere kicking himself for the mistake (there should be!) but had this continued on for five or more seasons it would have been a huge hit. Like every Firefly fan, it bugs me to no end that there weren’t more episodes to this show…ANYWAY…

Firefly follows Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew on Serenity as they ‘keep on flying,’ in the black; taking jobs when they can, either legal or illegally all while trying to exist under the empire of the Alliance, which tries its best to make the little man feel very small and insignificant. It touches on the idea of freedom and what it truly means; as well as friendship, loyalty and love. But mostly what draws you in is the great characters – a testament to Joss Whedon’s writing skills, of course. Viewers are usually hooked after the first episode. (I know I was!)

Well, that’s that! If you have other great TV shows that deserve a good watch, let me know! I’ve also recently started watching Orange is the New Black – and that one has got me hooked as well!

Happy Writing people!

 

 

 

 

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Once Upon a Time Review 11/11/12 – Becoming the Wolf and Bad Dreams

I enjoyed the Emma-centric episode much more than Red’s for some reason…and I think a lot of that had to do with the love story. Red’s was great too, but the wolf pack seemed to lack credibility. I think if they expanded the flash back through a few episodes, Red’s relationship with her mother, or lack there of, would have made more sense to me.

Disclaimer: Spoilers in this review!

Photo credit: ABC.

In Story brooke, Red gets framed for the murder of Gus the mouse and another man by Spencer/King George as he tries to take his revenge on Charming. For some reason, he has it in his mind that Charming is not as good as every thinks he is and wants to reveal that he really is just a lowly Shepard who can’t lead his flock sufficiently or whatever. Mainly, I just think King George is dumb.

In flash back enchanted forest world, we pick up some time after Snow and Red join forces, (after Red has to leave her village for killing Peter and everyone discovering she is a wolf.) Red discovers a wolf pack and coincidentally her mother is with them, surprise! Granny lied again! The pack teaches Red how to become the wolf and in doing so, she can control it.

Meanwhile, Henry is still haunted by dreams that turn out not to be dreams, but a limbo of some kind. Whenever someone endures a sleeping curse, according to Mr. Gold, they return to that limbo in their sleep and to unimaginable horrors. He does, however, give Henry a medallion or potion of some kind that will help Henry control what happens in that world. On the house! Interesting. But, we are not fooled Mr. Gold! Magic ALWAYS comes at a price!

Henry also discovers Aurora in limbo with him and introduces himself and so the episode ends with Emma and Snow in shock. How can their friend dream about Emma’s son, a person she’s never met?

Some Observations:

  • I personally hoped the dreams had something to do with another big bad…sigh. The queen of hearts seemed like such a fantastic idea! But plus side: Emma and gang now have a way to communicate with Story brooke.
  • Rumple so easily giving up a magic solution to Henry for his problems. On the house he says…but remember how giddy he was to teach Regina her magic?
  • The mob and the whole “Kill the beast” feel to the end of the episode. Where was Gaston?
  • Oh! King George burned Jefferson’s hat, his only hope for a portal to enchanted forest world. Charming almost lost it. Maybe he really is just human after all?

Highlights:

  • Granny with that cross-bow again! She’s so awesome.
  • Charming as sheriff. Still looks good. Yep.
  • Ruby and Gus the mouse scene…I wonder when Red will have some kind of romance in her life?
  • Loved seeing the closeness between her and Belle, too!

I can’t believe we have to wait a whole two weeks just to see what’s going on in this dream world of Aurora’s and Henry! Ugh! Does this mean more flashback world of the sleeping princess? Hope so!

A sneak peek below:

Once Upon a Time Review 10/28/12 – Regina lets go of the past

Well, I FINALLY got to watch last Sunday’s episode and what is more appropriate for Halloween than Dr. Frankenstein? I must say, I love Once Upon a Time’s incorporation of characters from all different worlds and stories. It is a fan fiction writer’s paradise!

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

Photo credit: ABC.

In this episode, Regina tries to let go of the past; the memory of her fiance, Daniel. She is also trying to honor Henry’s wishes to not use magic and visits Archie to talk about it. Meanwhile in present day fairytale world, Cora destroys Mulan and Aurora’s “safe haven” and leaves a survivor behind – Captain Hook. Snow and Emma are not fooled by his tale of being a blacksmith and immediately get to the truth of the matter.

Regina is still haunted by the memory of her lost love in present day Storybrooke, and in the flashback fairytale world, we are reminded that it was Rumpelstiltskin that taught Regina her magic. We are also introduced to a character’s identity: Dr. Victor Frankenstein, or Dr. Whale. And as told by Jefferson, he is the only one who can bring back her Daniel from the dead, because he has something more powerful than magic: Science!

The Highlights:

  • David punching Dr. Whale. “That’s for sleeping with my wife!” (If only we could all use the excuse, “I was cursed!”) 😉
  • David or “Gramps” giving Henry knight lessons. Horseback riding!
  • The appearance of Hook.
  • Speaking of eye candy…Our prince charming looks pretty good with a weapon strapped to his chest and that sheriff badge. Just saying.
  • Regina’s emotion in the stable when David tries to kill Daniel.
  • Oh, and Jefferson! He has this “holier than thou” attitude that I’m just loving.

There was a lot in this episode, including a lot of information about Regina’s past – we love seeing flashbacks of the young queen and any scene between her and Rumple is just the best, of course. The most surprising was the revelation of Dr. Whale’s identity.

While appropriate for a Halloween week episode, I was a bit surprised and did not expect that at all. To be honest, I thought Dr. Whale had more of a princely or knight sexual appeal, but there are many interpretations as to the character of Victor Frankenstein. I always thought he was a bit of a coward, though. Here he appears much more lecherous. Still handsome, of course.

Tomorrow’s episode seems to be very interesting! Captain Hook leads Emma, Snow, Aurora and Mulan to a magic compass that when paired with Cora’s ashes from the wardrobe, should be able to open a portal back to the Storybrooke world. Also, more on Emma’s past! 🙂 A sneak peek below:

Any thoughts or comments…you know what to do! 🙂